Stromatolites: The Building Blocks of Life

Photo Courtesy: Barni
Living stromatalites are very rare. The only known sites are Shark Bay, Australia, the Bahamas, and the Great Salt Lake, Utah.  In India , however, there are well-defined and  unique fossil stromatalite structures in many locations.

Abstract: Stromatolites record the evolutionary signature of earliest life forms on Earth. The prolific growth of stromatolites found in carbonate rocks were deposited between 3900 and 541 million years ago. The cyanobacteria, responsible for the formation of stromatolites obtained their energy through photosynthesis, thus utilising carbon dioxide from water and rocks—liberating large quantities of oxygen in return. India, fortunately, has extensive stromatolites deposits in the limestone and phosphate facies providing a natural laboratory for the study of the history of earth and it’s evolving environment.

The author is Senior Scientist with Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences,Lucknow. mukund The article should be cited as Sharma M. 2019, Stromatolites: The Building Blocks of Life, Geography and You, 19(25 & 26): 16-25